Nationals Notebook: Quarterfinals

Apr 1, 2023 | World Hockey Hub

2007-born Los Angeles Jr. Kings celebrate a quarterfinal victory at 15O 2023 USA Hockey Nationals.
Photo by Peter Rossi | World Hockey Hub

Jr. Kings stun Mount St. Charles with late comeback and OT win at 15O Nationals

Peter Rossi, on-site at 15O Nationals

Just when it seemed as if Mount St. Charles was destined to move on to the semifinals at 15O USA Hockey Nationals, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings mounted an improbable comeback. Down 3-2 late in the third period, Benjamin Kevan sent a perfect pass out to the front of the net where it found the tape of Dylan Nolan. Nolan ripped it past Sammy Doyon-Cataquiz with 1:55 left on the clock to knot the game at 3, breathing new life into his club’s chance of a victory. Kevan would play the hero just under four minutes into overtime when he buried the game-winner to advance his club into the next round of elimination games. 

It was an exciting road to get to that point in the matchup. The Jr. Kings opened the scoring on a power-play goal from Stephen Grumley toward the end of the first period. With just one second on the clock, Matthew Grimes managed to sneak a puck in by Seid-Ali Nabiev to tie it at 1. Mount continued to pepper Nabiev in the second period, managing to break the tie with 38 seconds remaining. Conrad Fondrk tallied his eighth goal and ninth point of the tournament to put his team ahead 2-1 heading into the final frame. 

Across the first and second periods, Nabiev was tremendous between the pipes in making 28 saves. 

The Jr. Kings dominated play for most of the third period searching for the equalizer. However, Nicholas Whitehead seemingly put the final nail in the coffin when he put Mount St. Charles up 3-1 with 5:56 left to play. Undaunted, Los Angeles continued to press with extended amounts of time in the offensive zone. They finally broke through when Jake Stuart finished a passing play between Hayden Russell and Luke Norcross to make it a 3-2 game. Not satisfied there, Kevan and Nolan would go on to connect for their late game-tying goal.

The Jr. Kings were eager to break the 3-3 tie before the end of regulation, with Doyon-Cataquiz having to make some crucial late stops to force the game into overtime. After both sides had traded chances, Kevan made his move to complete the comeback. Showing off tremendous compete level, Kevan chased down a Mount St. Charles skater before knocking the puck away. Without hesitating, he fired a low-shot on net that proved to be the game-winning goal and sent the Jr. Kings bench into a frenzy. 

This contest was a tale of two games. Throughout the first two periods, the Jr. Kings had only mustered 14 shots on goal, compared to Mount’s 30. But in the third, they flipped a switch and completely dominated the remainder of regulation and overtime. Not lost in the winning effort was the importance of Nabiev, who ended with 35 saves in total, compared to 31 of Doyon-Cataquiz. Los Angeles moves on to play Pittsburgh Penguins Elite tomorrow at 1:30 PM with a trip to the championship game on the line.

Mission no match for Pens Elite’s speed

Pittsburgh Penguins Elite’s power play is a large reason they were able to defeat Chicago Mission in a tight 2-1 contest. Right from puck drop, it was apparent that Mission might have issues handling Pittsburgh’s incredible speed. The Pens were often the first to most pucks, winning most battles in the corners and along the boards. Ryan White put Pittsburgh up 1-0 with a power play goal in the first period. He sent a seeing-eye shot that found its way past Bjorn Bronas

In the second, Pens Elite would strike on the man advantage yet again when Brian Woods wired a shot from the right circle into the net to up his club’s advantage to 2-0. Mission struggled to cycle the puck in the Pens’ defensive zone, a usual strength for them. Most offensive opportunities were one-and-done, with most shots either firing wide or easily stopped by Jake Shingles. The trio of Kieren Dervin, Quinn McKenzie and Jacob Cloutier was once again a standout for the Pens. Dervin, who has quietly put up modest numbers this tournament with three goals and six points, assisted on both power-play goals. 

Bronas made a stunning glove save on a 2-on-1 rush with 9:10 left in the third period, but Chicago was unable to use it as a turning point. With the goaltender pulled, Mission would finally solve Shingles when Ethan Baker shoved a loose puck over the line. It proved to be too little too late, as the Pens would hang on to take the 2-1 final. 

Kosiba leads Caesars past Gulls

Despite a strong start from the Long Island Gulls, they were unable to solve Joseph Slavick in the early going. With both teams unable to find the back of the net in the first, William Horcoff got the scoring started in the second when he beat Ryan Cameron with a slick backhander on the breakaway. Horcoff collected a perfect pass from Alex Baughman from deep in Caesars’ defensive zone, skated in all alone and beat Cameron. 59 seconds after, Nicholas Kosiba joined in the fun. Heading towards the net on a partial 2-on-1 with Luke Menard, he showed great patience in forcing Cameron to blink first and slipped the puck around his pad for the 2-0 lead. 

With 18 seconds left in the second frame, Kosiba would be on the end of a fortuitous bounce on the power play. Charlton Thretheway sent a shot on net that was initially saved by Cameron, before it bounced into the crease. Kosiba was right on the doorstep when he tapped it into the wide-open net to put Caesars up 3-0. 

44 seconds into the third period, the Gulls showed some spark when Jesse Orlowsky chipped in a pass from Joseph Argentina from behind the net to cut Caesars’ lead to 3-1. They made things interesting when Brenden DeFeo threw the puck on net that deflected in off a Caesars player. But unable to find the tying goal late, Caesars secured the win. They will play Shattuck- St. Mary’s tomorrow at 11:00 AM to see who will reach Monday’s championship game. 

Ament, Kor aid Shattuck’s victory against BK Selects

Henri Ament and Gavin Kor helped Shattuck-St. Mary’s rebound after ending pool play with a 4-1 loss to Mount St. Charles when they defeated the Bishop Kearney Selects this afternoon. 

Ament opened the scoring in the first period before Danny Wehle tied things up shortly after. Chase Nehring gave the lead back to SSM in the second period before Joseph Gugino doubled it nearly two-and-a-half minutes later. Wehle notched his second goal to keep Bishop Kearney in the hunt as the period wound down. One-and-a-half minutes after, Shattuck restored its two-goal lead when Gavin Kor netted his first point of the game. The Selects opted to pull their goaltender to try and mount a comeback, but Christian Plaga took a pass from Kor and sent it into the empty cage for the 5-2 final. 

WHH will have continued coverage of USA Hockey Nationals this week. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, top performers and more.


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